Waubonsie Valley takes down Romeoville
Updated: May 23, 2011 8:58PM
An 11-3 Waubonsie Valley win against Romeoville in Monday’s “play-in” game shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who has closely followed the team lately.
After all, the Warriors (20-12) survived an 0-6 start to the year. Waubonsie Valley has rebounded to go 20-6 since that inauspicious early-season stretch.
Warriors coach Dan Fezzuoglio said after the win over Romeoville that it “has been a long march to get there.”
Now, the Warriors will face Neuqua Valley in a Lockport Regional first round game Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Waubonsie Valley is seeded 14th and the Wildcats are seeded third in the Neuqua Valley Sectional.
Despite their apparent status as heavy underdogs against Neuqua Valley, the Warriors swept the three-game season series. In a season of daunting obstacles, Waubonsie Valley will have to go right through the Wildcats once more to advance in the regional.
“We have reached two out of our three main goals: We have gotten to 20 wins and we won conference,” Fezzuoglio said. “Our third goal is to win a regional.”
The Warriors took a big first step toward that attaining that latter goal, thanks in large part to a fast start against the Spartans, who finish the year 12-18.
Romeoville, seeded 20th in the sectional, hurt itself early with a pair of first-inning errors. Waubonsie Valley ended up scoring four runs that inning, and three more in each the second and third.
“You subtract the first three innings when you give them a 10-run lead and it’s tough to come back—I don’t care who they are,” Spartans coach Tony Smith said. “And the way they swing the bats, they just put bat on ball and they did a good job in the first three innings of adding on. We made some mistakes on the mound and they didn’t miss it. Then you put that on top of throwing the ball around and booting it around, and you just can’t do that at regional time.”
Spartans starter Jordan Pemble (6-3) lasted just 1 2/3 innings while surrendering two home runs and seven runs overall. His problems surfaced from the very first Warriors at-bat of the game, as Eric Josupait (2-for-4) and pitcher Mike Murphy smacked back-to-back doubles to start things offensively.
Kyle Limanowski (2-for-4, five RBI) brought home another run with a fielder’s choice RBI and Harry Vickers capped the first with a two-run home run. Limanowski added a two-out, three-run homer in the second, knocking Pemble out of the game.
“I saw a first-pitch fastball and I thought I’d let that one go right there, but then he gave me another one and I got a good pitch, put good contact on it and the rest took care of itself,” Limanowski, a senior right fielder, said.
Limanowski set the single-season school record with his ninth home run Saturday against St. Francis, and added to that total with the blast against Romeoville. Fezzuoglio said he has seen tremendous growth as a player from Limanowski since his inconsistent junior season.
Murphy (4-4) hurled six innings, allowing three runs and just two walks while striking out four. He overcame a first-inning balk that put a Spartans runner in scoring position with two outs. The senior also collected two RBI, two hits and a walk in his five plate appearances out of the No. 2 spot.
“Basically, it’s a team win for us,” Murphy said. “Everybody is hitting, not just (from) an individual standpoint. Everyone made plays behind me, so it’s just a huge team win for us and we hope to keep going in the playoffs.”